Two years ago, I launched the Smooth Harold Helpdesk and Open Lunch Invitations (see sidebar). In that time I’ve met with more than a dozen individuals I previously didn’t know, fielded upwards of 50 email inquires—ranging from typography design to how to make a pregnant wife happy—and rekindled relationships with countless friends, colleagues, and associates. To say the program has broadened my horizons and created new opportunities would be a gross understatement.
“If you have a specific question you think I might be able to answer (business, web, personal, etc), don’t hesitate to ask via email or in person over lunch,” I wrote at the time. “If I don’t know the answer, chances are I can refer you to someone who does. And no, this isn’t ‘you scratch my back I scratch yours.’ It’s just a genuine attempt to share the little that I’ve learned from talking with people smarter than me, reading good books, and seeing what sticks.”
The offer still stands, and I look forward to meeting even more of you in the near future. As an extension of that program, I’ve also isolated 10 individuals I should probably know. I did this by piggybacking (aka crowdsourcing) friends that have large Facebook lists and asking for their opinion. That way, I can target prolific individuals without having to actively manage are large friend list or maintain a productivity-killing Twitter stream. I’ll update you on how I made out.